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FASHAL – Subtle Censorship

Taken by Lara Choucair

Dubai's creative chill

Dubai’s Creative Chill

This column first appeared in the March issue of Bold Magazine

I would have played Candy Crush too

candy crush
This photo of MP Ahmad Karami has been making rounds on Facebook over the past couple of days with people criticizing him for playing Candy Crush during the cabinet policy debate.
But think about it for a second, what do people usually do during boring pointless gatherings? I for myself know that I would have played Candy Crush too!
At least he wasn’t watching porn like those politicians from India!

Lebanese Mothers Who Can’t Take Pictures With Their Sons On Mother’s Day

Marie Mansourati holds a rose while sitting on the bed of her missing son Daniel, who was taken away by force in 1993.

Castania nails it for Mother's day (UPDATE)

Research credit: G.H.

So finally we have a winner for Mother's Day!... Castania one of our local nuts brands has come up with this "b7ebbik min ana w fastouk" (I love you since I was a fastouk - with fastouk meaning "something very small"... but also "festok" means "peanuts"!).... And so this was the best one this year.


24 Public Gardens To Go In Beirut

According to the Beirut Green Project, there are 24 public gardens to go to in Beirut. This may seem like a lot specially when most of us have heard of 3 or 4 gardens only, but Beirut has 0.8 meters of green space per person which is way below the 9 meters per person minimum requirement, according to the World Heath Organization.
Here’s a list of some of the public gardens in Beirut as shown on the Beirut Green Guide map:

The Wondrous Tales of Wisdom Of Mawlana al-Baghdadi

A companion of mawlana al-Baghdadi recounts one of his wondrous tales to his followersMawlana Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Emir of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is known for being a fierce fighter and upholder of the banner of Islam.

Happy Mother’s Day: Take A Moment to Celebrate Unconditional Love

Mother’s Day is upon us – a day which celebrates life, continuous giving and a stream of unconditional love… This is the day when we all take a moment to celebrate the woman who has given us life and nurtured us to becoming the man or woman we are today… I would like to take a moment here to wish my own mother, my wife and all the mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day… 

Tawlet: Mastering Our Culinary Traditions

This might be my fifth review about Tawlet, but I couldn’t resist sharing yet another great experience. At Tawlet, everything is just outstanding, starting with the place itself, its ambiance, its cosmopolitan clientele, the food and general relaxing spirit. I enjoy myself every time I go… When I am looking to have some authentically healthy Lebanese cuisine, Tawlet is my choice.

Using brand names as generic products

So I was playing "yo-yo" and so my brother asked me to play a game of "ping pong" with him under the sun, and wiped the sweat with a "kleenex", but eventually I really got this severe headache and took an "aspirin", and what's worse is that I also tripped because the "velcro" of my shoes were not fastened, and so I needed a "band aid" for the wound, and at this stage I really need to go to the "Jacuzzi" just to forget that awful afternoon - but not before taking something refreshing out of the "Frigidaire".
Did I make my point?

Manhattan New York Grill, The Grand Hyatt Dubai

I was craving for some good meat and while visiting a friend staying at The Grand Hyatt, the Manhattan Grill seemed like a good choice.

Serving up different cuts of US prime beef, Manhattan Grill steakhouse in Dubai gives you a classic New York experience with its sleek and modern interior while the combination of metal and dark

Into thin air - Why it’s past time to honor Lebanon’s disappeared

The decision of the Shura council to allow families of the disappeared to have access to the Lebanese government’s full investigation files on their relatives is welcome. The government conducted a nine-month investigation in 2001, but since that time the authorities have denied the families the right to look at the information uncovered.

Mother’s Day In Lebanon

Via March.
I will be adding some more throughout the day. Happy Mother’s Day to all!


Who Wants To Fight Terrorism In Lebanon?

I’d rather all parties keep such ideas to themselves and let the army and ISF handle terrorists.

Nothing Beats Your Mom’s Cooking… Happy Mother’s Day

Let me tell you something…
Between every restaurant review, every delicious food discovery I enjoy and share, every image I upload on Instagram and every tweet… I still crave for some home cooked meal prepared by my mother… 
Nothing beats a yummy heart filled home cooked meal prepared by the one person who knows and loves you unconditionally….

Dining Etiquette Around The World

When it comes to dining, customs vary from country to country. If you’re eating out abroad it’s important to know traditions and meal time practices to ensure that you don’t offend your host or fellow diners. The Restaurant Choice have put together a list of dos and don’ts on everything from tipping to giving your compliments tot the chef. 

Breakfast at The Mövenpick Hotel, Dead Sea

This is the second time I visit the Dead Sea in Jordan, and every time I stay at the Movenpick. This hotel is well prepped, well maintained and boasts a professional and well-trained staff…Breakfast at the Movenpick enjoys all the points that makes it tasty and good. I’m not going to compare it to a luxurious five star hotel in Europe, but as a place on its on, it’s good.

Meet Rasha Bazzi

I get asked a lot what other blogs do I read. To be honest, not very many. I never did read blogs before starting my own, and it’s been that way ever since. However, I do have my secret fancies and one of my absolute favorites is Rasha Bazzi. Poetry is something I’m neither particularly fond of, nor any good at.

Lebanon’s Product of the Year: 2014

‘Product of the Year’, renowned worldwide across 42 countries and the largest consumer-voted award for product innovation, honored this year’s most innovative consumer products, on March 19th, at its 4th annual award ceremony at the Movenpick Hotel in Beirut. The gala dinner was attended by hundreds of guests, distinguished business people and media partners.

President’s Son Instagram Account Joe Maalouf Appreciation Post

It’s no secret I am no fan of Joe Maalouf or his shows. The deliberate misinformation, cheap tricks and bigotry we got used to on his old show (and many parts of his new one) make him a controversial figure, with its ups and downs.
I am also a fair person. I will acknowledge and give credit where credit is due, regardless of whether or not I like the person or not. Joe Maalouf’s piece on the president’s insane Instagram account, earned Maalouf respect from my part, and for several reasons.

Stop Smoking Arguileh, Now

Loopstache Cover The Beatles

Loopstache are good friends of mine. They’re the kind of folks that can make me endure a live music performance and actually enjoy it. It’s no secret my electronic music bias makes me usually anti-bands, but Loopstache’s brand of music smartly merges both the acoustic and the digital to create the music that’s defining our modern era: one where genres mean nothing, and music is more diverse than ever.
Anyway, they released a cool stop-motion video the other day, covering The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” in their own way. Have a listen, I’m sure it’ll be a much-welcome break from your work or studies! And check them out here on Facebook if you love what you listen to.

Naked on the Inside

It’s on nights like this
that the wall of smiles crumbles,
dimple by sparkling squint,
with a only a faint sigh to be heard
as it crashes.
How is it that things so labored
falter so quietly?

As the roads spread ahead of us,
vast and dim,
lit half-heartedly and glistening
with the sheen of a promised storm,
the night, worn out of shopping
late at resoundingly vacant stores,
hung lifeless and limp,
an expanse of exhaustion,
over our worn out being.

Nothing was left for us,
not the effort of pretense,
not the thrill of acquisition,
not even the recurrent name of a friend.
There we were, naked on the inside,
bereft of even the comfort of joy.
We had only for company,

Guerrier du Clavier

A Magic School in Palermo Viejo, Buenos Aires 

I want to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

How cool would that be?

It's almost magical. 

You have this slick thing where you just want to stick your head, and then just like that you pull out a living creature out of its hole. 

I don't want to suit up, though. It seems like too much of a hassle. The getting dressed part is already too

Update On The Noah Movie: Banned Or Not Banned In Lebanon?

Grand Cinemas tweeted few days back that Noah will start showing on March 27th but they said it didn’t pass the censorship yet. Cinemall posted today on their Facebook page (See below) that the movie won’t be released but I can’t find the post on their page (It looks like it got deleted).

GAP styld.by + IvySays = Spring Statements

My ultimate spring outfit fix is a crisp white shirt and a flattering pair of cut-out blue jeans, it’s a versatile and simple combo that can be dressed up or down. For my most recent collaboration with GAP styld.by I wanted to add as many statement pieces as possible to this classic favorite.

Aziz Zada has an awesome mother!

My friend Aziz Zada issued this facebook cover that says "thank you mom... I'm awesome" - do note that anyone with knowledge in psychology would tell you that there are two reasons to give: Altruism and egoism.

Little Helps: This Season’s Maamoul for a Good Cause

With today’s economic and social crisis, as well as political unrest in Lebanon, a group of women have joined our hands to Bake for a Cause.

“This season, YOU can make a big difference”
We are friends, we are foodies, we are party animals but we also Bake for a Good Cause! Oh and we don’t just bake… we Rock in baking!

Events in Syria and outside have turned in Assad’s favour

With President Bashar Al Assad’s term scheduled to end in July, the Syrian regime is apparently preparing for new elections that Mr Al Assad will surely win, by foul means if not fair. This has alarmed the United Nations mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi, who has warned that it may doom prospects for future talks.

Elections have yet to be finalised, but Mr Brahimi told reporters that if they were held, the opposition would be unlikely to talk to the regime. A presidential election represents the last opportunity to transition away from Mr Al Assad, otherwise Syria’s conflict could be without political resolution.

Elsa: The first Organic Restaurant Being Awarded a Michelin Star

The Monte – Carlo Beach is now part of an elite group of great French and Monegasque restaurants thanks to the talent and creativity of executive chef Paolo Sari.

Being awarded a first Michelin Star for Elsa is a guaranty of quality, a reward heralding a future close to nature, a philosophy defining it as the first certified 100% organic restaurant.

Is an Aoun presidency more realistic?

Some circles in March 14 are openly talking about the possibility that Michel Aoun, all 80 years of him, may be the next president of Lebanon after Michel Sleiman’s term ends in May.

While this may be speculation, that it is being discussed at all indicates how the political scene has changed since 2008, when Sleiman took office. So what would a serious Aoun presidency entail and how would it gain steam?

Lebanese Vans: Wisdom Of The Day

At least he’s honest about it.
Thanks Jad!

Ginette: The Eatery, The Fashion Boutique, The Art Gallery

Ginette,  located in the heart of Gemmayze, has been the talk of town for sometime now. This funky and trendy concept space hosts a coffee shop and restaurant, an art gallery, and a boutique… all in one location hidden behind tall green trees that offer a calm shade for anyone dropping by. I’ve been here many times but have never for lunch. Let’s see what this place has to offer.